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How to Find the Right Mattress for Your Dorm Room

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How to Find the Right Mattress for Your Dorm Room

(Photo : Filmreal Studio via Unsplash)

Movies portray dorm rooms in such a way that young people entering an institution of higher learning for the first time are deeply disappointed when they arrive to move into the dorms and start the semester. This shock is just one among many that a young college student faces in their first semester, but it can be the most jarring. 

The first thing you do when you arrive on campus for your first semester is hit your dorm room to drop off all of your belongings before heading off to orientation. That much of the movie scenes are true. But freshman dorm rooms are rarely as sophisticated, well-furnished, or spacious as the sets for those films. The fact that university tours usually include dorms for upper-classmen, without explaining that freshman housing is drastically different, only adds insult to injury.

The worst part of this experience is that these dorm rooms aren't just sparsely furnished - they are also really uncomfortable. The institution-style beds and desks were built for function and maximizing the use of a small space, not for comfort. Some of these beds are tall, making adding a mattress topper to try to increase the bed's comfort is not really a viable option. 

However, some campuses are willing to store their own mattress if you want to replace it with your own for the duration of the term. Before you or your parents run out and buy a better mattress, make sure that this is allowed by the campus and that they are the ones to remove their mattress from storage so that you are not liable. 

Even if you get campus permission, finding the right mattress is easier said than done. It's easy enough to find mattress sales, but getting the right bed with the right measurements and specifications may not be. 

Measure the mattress, not the bed

Institutional-style beds can be of a variety of sizes. Some dorms do offer a standard size bed and mattress, usually a Twin XL. It is important that you get the "XL" Twin, as there is a very distinct difference. Twin XL mattresses are 5 inches longer than a standard Twin, ensuring that the feet of grown adults will not hang off of the end of the bed.

However, a Twin XL mattress does have the same width measurement as a Twin. As such, a standard Twin XL mattress may not be the right dimensions for the industrial bed provided. If you suspect that the bed seems wider than a standard twin, you should measure the width and length to make sure you know what size to buy.

In general, it is a good idea to measure a dorm mattress so that you are certain you know what you're looking for. If your local mattress store only provides the standard sizes of twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, and California king, turn to the internet for a much wider selection (and at more affordable prices).

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